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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 19 Dec 2008
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12GSA, 650 Dakar, AT/TA & Other options to research?

Hi guys, the usual question being asked here.

I'm currently looking at my bike options for a rtw trip that I plan to start early 2010. Rough plan is to do a shakedown trip round the scandanavia half way through this year and leave 6 months later (give or take).

The one problem I am struggling with is that I also want to use the bike to commute for the year preceding the trip. I don't have room for 2 bikes (one parking space & a car to find a home for in inner city).

As I'm self employed I have to commute to differnt work places and for the past 3 years I've commuted an average of 180-200 miles a day (by car) - I work all over so moving closer isn't an option but I reckon a bike would save 1 hour a day just in filtering (this is not town driving either - slow moving motorway)

So I've narrowed my options.

1200GSA - Yes its big, heavy, expensive. But as a ride it was excellent. Ok there are questions over the reliability but from what I've read these are mostly easy fixes (FPC - similar to carrying a spare pump for the AT or flat battery) or faults that develop over time (final drive) with the being fairly easy to replace.

F650 GS Dakar - Nice, but not sure I could do 200 miles on it every day. Fuel range of 220 miles means a trip to the petrol station every day which could become a pain and mean I had to dip into the reserve everyday. Tourtech fuel tank is expensive and with a devent low mileage model of £4k so £1.5k for the tank the bike is not that cheap.

AT (750) or TransAlp - Almost as heavy as the R1200GSA. Seems to be more reliable but smaller tank.


So does anyone have any experiance of the bikes above. I've had lots of people tell me the GS bikes are awful and that I'd be a nutter to attempt it becuase they're far too electronic. But similarly I've heard lots of people say they've done a rtw on a 1150/1200gsa but no-one has yet said they tried one on it and the electornics tried to kill them in thier sleep.

But am I missing any other solid options - that can commute (uk weather) and be a viable option for overland travel. I don't have space for two bikes and would like to bond with it before I go so a bike that can commute and perform rtw both would be nice. I know that's a big ask and if too much I'll have to reconsider - but its worth asking. Now I know I'm asking for a compromise. A DR650 style carb thumper would probably be the best bet when doing an rtw tour (particularly for Africa) - but I'd suffer on the sections where the complex bikes aren't disadvanteaged (eg. Europe, N. America, (S. America to an extent?), Australia etc).

As for me: I'll be travelling one up solo most of the time - so probably won't go too far "off piste" even if I had a bike that I could do that mainly becuase even bikes which never break and can be mended by a twig and a stone by a caveman could break and be US. I'm also 6'4", 19 stone lump so weight of a bike is important but I'm not a 5'3" twig.
I suppose its down to what I want to spend/I'm happy with having seen the videos about R1 Enduro I'm convinced anything can do it.
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  #2  
Old 19 Dec 2008
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Given your a big guy
Good luck in your prep!

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 23:23.
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  #3  
Old 19 Dec 2008
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Originally Posted by sockpuppet View Post
But similarly I've heard lots of people say they've done a rtw on a 1150/1200gsa but no-one has yet said they tried one on it and the electornics tried to kill them in thier sleep.
It’s a valid point; the “nightmares” comes mostly from people who have never done a decent trip with the mentioned bikes.

Personally I had chosen the 1200GS because I like boxers but the 650 will also do the job.
There will be a new G650GS (basically the old F650GS but with a Kymco-engine) in a short time but only in a few countries.
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Old 19 Dec 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliBaba View Post
It’s a valid point; the “nightmares” comes mostly from people who have never done a decent trip with the mentioned bikes.

Personally I had chosen the 1200GS because I like boxers but the 650 will also do the job.
There will be a new G650GS (basically the old F650GS but with a Kymco-engine) in a short time but only in a few countries.
Cant remember who it is but somone on UKGSer has the quote "there are people who have ridden the GS and think its great and those that haven't and know its c**p".

I'm not sure all of the issues with the R1200GS/A is entirely justified. There is over 100,000 of them in circulation I suppose there is going to be more claims.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Given your a big guy there are certain bikes that will suit you better than others. The GS is not a bad choice but for BMW's very sketchy reliability history in the last ten years.

But do your own research .... go to BMW owner boards and hang back and read .... there you will see a pattern, a pattern of breakdowns. And if you think a failed final drive, failed clutch or locked up transmission is an "easy fix" then you have a bit to learn!

Once you've done your shake down ride you will learn more of what works for you and what does not. A commuter can be a travel bike but as you've said, you will be compromising both to reach a middle ground.

I would look closely at the Suzuki Vstrom. Good value, superb reliability, great big man's bike, easy to service, tough as nails. I would go with the DL1000, but they also make a 650. Supremely versatile machine.
Thanks for that. The DL1000K8 is also on the list - still got plenty of reading to do on this one though.

Suppose it might just come down to a F650 with some jerry cans (when rtw not commuting) due to the extra fuel economy.
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Old 19 Dec 2008
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Yea, I guess all those thousands of posts detailing BMW failures are all BS made up by guys who "pretend" to own a GS but really don't

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 23:24.
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  #6  
Old 19 Dec 2008
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Thanks for proving my point Mollydog.
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  #7  
Old 19 Dec 2008
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One vote for the Vstrom, and in fact the 650-version, we rode two-up from Finland to Australia with one, and it never missed a beat. That engine is stellar for ´only 650´, and fuel range is good. Can run on practically any fuel, has excellent headlights, and room for two. The thing carries huge weight without a problem.

I´d choose it any day over Transalp and Africa Twin, which I both owned back in time, and they´re both fine, but the DL650 is just more modern in many ways. Punchier, handles better, carries weight better, uses less fuel, goes further without refuel. Even if it doesnt look like a "proper" adventure machine, not without farkling anyway, it most certainly is suitable for RTW.
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  #8  
Old 20 Dec 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sockpuppet View Post
Hi guys, the usual question being asked here.

I'm currently looking at my bike options for a rtw trip that I plan to start early 2010. Rough plan is to do a shakedown trip round the scandanavia half way through this year and leave 6 months later (give or take).

The one problem I am struggling with is that I also want to use the bike to commute for the year preceding the trip. I don't have room for 2 bikes (one parking space & a car to find a home for in inner city).

As I'm self employed I have to commute to differnt work places and for the past 3 years I've commuted an average of 180-200 miles a day (by car) - I work all over so moving closer isn't an option but I reckon a bike would save 1 hour a day just in filtering (this is not town driving either - slow moving motorway)

So I've narrowed my options.

1200GSA - Yes its big, heavy, expensive. But as a ride it was excellent. Ok there are questions over the reliability but from what I've read these are mostly easy fixes (FPC - similar to carrying a spare pump for the AT or flat battery) or faults that develop over time (final drive) with the being fairly easy to replace.

F650 GS Dakar - Nice, but not sure I could do 200 miles on it every day. Fuel range of 220 miles means a trip to the petrol station every day which could become a pain and mean I had to dip into the reserve everyday. Tourtech fuel tank is expensive and with a devent low mileage model of £4k so £1.5k for the tank the bike is not that cheap.

AT (750) or TransAlp - Almost as heavy as the R1200GSA. Seems to be more reliable but smaller tank.


So does anyone have any experiance of the bikes above. I've had lots of people tell me the GS bikes are awful and that I'd be a nutter to attempt it becuase they're far too electronic. But similarly I've heard lots of people say they've done a rtw on a 1150/1200gsa but no-one has yet said they tried one on it and the electornics tried to kill them in thier sleep.

But am I missing any other solid options - that can commute (uk weather) and be a viable option for overland travel. I don't have space for two bikes and would like to bond with it before I go so a bike that can commute and perform rtw both would be nice. I know that's a big ask and if too much I'll have to reconsider - but its worth asking. Now I know I'm asking for a compromise. A DR650 style carb thumper would probably be the best bet when doing an rtw tour (particularly for Africa) - but I'd suffer on the sections where the complex bikes aren't disadvanteaged (eg. Europe, N. America, (S. America to an extent?), Australia etc).

As for me: I'll be travelling one up solo most of the time - so probably won't go too far "off piste" even if I had a bike that I could do that mainly becuase even bikes which never break and can be mended by a twig and a stone by a caveman could break and be US. I'm also 6'4", 19 stone lump so weight of a bike is important but I'm not a 5'3" twig.
I suppose its down to what I want to spend/I'm happy with having seen the videos about R1 Enduro I'm convinced anything can do it.
Don't mind me being direct, but you sound like you are more looking for a compelling reason for not getting the 12GSA, because you've already made up your mind on it.
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  #9  
Old 20 Dec 2008
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Your profile suggests that you already own a 1200GS ,so mebbe you've already made up your mind .
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Old 20 Dec 2008
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By the way, can you get your bike fully insured for a RTW-trip - so that you´ll get compensation, even if it´s crashed beyond repair, stolen, burns, or sinks to the sea?

I couldnt. So I just had to take the risk. I´ll much rather take the risk of losing a bike completely, if its not so expensive.

A 1200GS in my country costs over twice as much as the DL650. Probably doesnt mean much to you, if you´re a Hollywood star, but for the rest of us, it probably means something.

Met a couple of Aussie bikers along the way, they were riding two old Transalps bought in the UK, each one cost less than 1000 pounds... so even if the bikes werent top notch, their financial risk was still much less than ours.

Just one more thing to consider, before you set off. Not saying it´s 100% impossible to insure for a trip like this, but that in itself may cost more than a bit.
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  #11  
Old 20 Dec 2008
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I would go for V-Strom !
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  #12  
Old 20 Dec 2008
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i have a dl650 and i love my bike. I strongly advice you to consider about dl650 more seriously.

best of luck
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  #13  
Old 21 Dec 2008
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I'm sure whatever you decide to ride will be a personal choice, but I've just finished a fairly big trip from the UK to Australia via the Arctic Circle on my '07 GSA. Average fuel consumption was 22 km/litre and the bike ran like a dream. I didn't even have so much as a puncture. Maybe I was lucky enough to get one that was built on a Wednesday. Most of the bikes with "problems" must have been built on a Monday or Friday, and then sent to the UK. Just read some of the UK GS sites - more whinging than a Boeing 747!!! Must have something to do with the weather.

***All of the above information is the author's personal view and not meant to be read and/or dissected by those rabid BMW haters out here, who like a lot of people just need something/someone to hate***
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  #14  
Old 21 Dec 2008
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It's obvious if you look at facts and well documented history, most of the so called "haters" you describe come mostly from the ranks of BMW owners .... or former BMW owners.
Must be a Japanese conspiracy mate.

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 23:25.
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  #15  
Old 21 Dec 2008
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Hey Kenny, glad you had such an uneventful journey. It's obvious if you look at facts and well documented history, most of the so called "haters" you describe come mostly from the ranks of BMW owners .... or former BMW owners.

As you've said, a quick read on UK GSer or any of the other BMW specific sites I've listed show this to be true. The real question is ..... why are these owners so unhappy? After all , we all know it's only the "haters" who invent all these so called failures with BMW's products. I'm assuming you believe there are NO problems with BMW bikes .... ever.
How am I doing on this?

Must be a Japanese conspiracy mate.
Since when does anyone believe what's written on the internet?? Just kidding Mollydog. I'm sure that some of the problems documented are completely justified( EWS, fuel pumps etc). Maybe I've just been lucky.


Unfortunately I'm a BMW believer, even though I reckon that BMW management needs a crash course in public relations. Having owned BMW's since 1997, and not having any problems at all, trying to convince me otherwise is like try to tell a JW on your front doorstep that the Big Day is never coming.....

I also own/have owned many Jap bikes and like them just as much. Of course it's a Japanese conspiracy!!
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